The Baker Orange

Junior class presents gate blueprints

Story by Taylor Shuck, Editor

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As a part of a Baker tradition that began in 1891, most incoming freshmen officially enter campus on traditions night through their class gate. Minister to the University Ira DeSpain said this is the opening bookend of students’ time at Baker. And when they graduate, they leave through the same gate as their closing bookend.

Each class also has a name that is passed down at graduation to the incoming freshman class. The four class names – House of Hanover, Columbian Commonwealth, Senatus Romanus and King Arthur’s Court – rotate with each year’s freshman class. But the first class that was formed, House of Hanover, never received a class gate.

And so 123 years later, members of the House of Hanover are finally getting their class gate.

“I think that it’s like the missing piece of history,” junior Jacob Mogle said. “If you look, you’ll see years like 1908 on these other pieces of architecture and you’ll think, ‘what were these people doing back then?’ I think for myself and the rest of my class, it’d be nice to see our year on the stone and leave an impression and a piece of us behind.”

Since traditions night his freshman year, Mogle has wondered why his class was missing its own gate. And when he brought it up to Dean of Students Cassy Bailey, she said it’s been “on her radar” for seven years.

“Students have come to me before with the same question as (Mogle), but it just never took off,” Bailey said. “It could be because it’s too expensive, too dependent on maintenance and the budget office. But I’m just trying to make sure that everyone is staying cohesive and working together to make this happen.”

Mogle and other project volunteers have met with Jeremy Portlock, director of the physical plant, to discuss location, design and all possibilities. They are still taking suggestions on all parts in this stage, and blueprints of possible designs are on display in the Harter Union.

Mogle hopes that the creation of the structure comes about as a class effort.

“What I want above everything else is for this to be a class effort and that everyone in the House of Hanover feels like they get to leave a part of them here,” Mogle said.

Once the design is finished in May, fundraising will begin. Although Bailey knows raising the $10,000-$15,000 necessary for a project like this will be difficult, she believes with the right kind of effort, it will be possible.

“The responsibility of the class gate can’t just be on the students,” Bailey said. “It has to be a campus-wide effort.”

Martha Harris, assistant dean for academic affairs, graduated from Baker in 1979. As a House of Hanover member, she’s glad to see this plan go into action. Although during her years at Baker, traditions weren’t emphasized to the extent they are now, she thinks this push to complete the class gates protects Baker’s traditions.

“We were left to learn about traditions on our own time, and we’ve developed a lot of traditions since then,” Harris said. “It helps tie different generations together and gives them something in common.”

Along with Harris, Bailey hopes this push toward campus traditions will help further students’ appreciation and knowledge of BU traditions. She believes that for a campus with such a rich history, a lot more could be done with traditions.

“It speaks to the whole tradition of Baker and what makes us unique,” Bailey said. “The House of Hanover exists with or without a gate, but the structure, the walking in through the gate and then out for graduation, it’s just a part of the whole campus tradition. And this is completing that tradition.”

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